UBC Counselling Services expands into temporary modular building

In order to meet demands while a permanent space is built, UBC is planning the installation of a temporary modular building this August to house overflow from UBC’s counselling services.

According to the Campus and Community Planning (C+CP) website, UBC’s counselling services will operate out of the modular building in addition to Brock Hall and Orchard Commons. The temporary facility will hold “case managers and swing space for disability advising.”

“It … is a way to fast-track the delivery services for the university until permanent facilities are built,” said Gerry McGeough, C+CP director of planning and design in a statement to The Ubyssey.

The modular building will be located next to Brock Hall, a site that was previously considered for the ASC before it was passed up in favour of the Bosque in 2018.

C+CP rejected the site next to Brock Hall for the ASC after it decided the site would be better suited for a “permanent large academic building” that is yet to be determined.

“As the university grows there is less open, available land so we need to be more thoughtful about what goes where, when,” reads the statement.

McGeough says the modular building will allow UBC to hold the land for later use while still meeting the needs of counselling services. C+CP held public consultations for the building in May and June and expects installation by August.

Counselling services will use the facility for three to five years until it moves to a permanent building that development plans call an “Integrated Health Services (IHS) centre.”

Afterward, the modular building will be used as swing space for other purposes until the anticipated end of its lifetime 30 to 40 years later.

“Brock Hall … will continue to function as a first point of entry for students wishing to access mental health support,” wrote Cheryl Washburn, the director of counselling services in an emailed statement to The Ubyssey. “… We don’t anticipate any service delivery issues for students as a result of this move.”

Although the building will help counselling services, AMS VP Academic and University Affairs Julia Burnham acknowledges that it’s a short-term fix.

“It's pretty clear that capacity and space are a limiting factor for being able to provide fully for student services on this campus,” she said. “… The modular units are really a band-aid solution.”